The increased integration of technology in educational institutions is having a positive impact on students, teachers and administrators alike. Unfortunately this increased use of technology also means a greater
potential for improper use and negative impacts as well. In response to the risk for improper use institutions often put in place what is called an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). According to Roblyer and Doering (2012), the AUP describes the risks of internet use, what use is appropriate, what use is safe, and asks students to agree to use the internet under those described conditions. When it comes to higher education institutions I discovered these AUP’s often refer to or complement separate Student Conduct Code policies. This was the case for the AUP of Chico State University , which specifically referenced those AUP violations that were also student code of conduct code violations. Many AUP’s extend their focus beyond just internet use as well. For example, the AUP of the University of Pennsylvania defines acceptable use for all electronic resources including computers, networks, electronic mail services, electronic information sources, as well as video and voice services.

The National Education Association outlines six important components that make up an effective AUP including a preamble, a definition section, a policy statement, an acceptable uses section, an unacceptable uses section, and a violations/sanctions section (“Getting started on,” 2011). In my review of AUP’s from public universities I found them to vary greatly in structure and content. Some did not necessarily include all the key elements outlined by the National Education Association but were very in depth on those elements that were actually included. The AUP of Colorado State University demonstrated this by not including a traditional definition section but went more in depth than other schools in giving very specific examples of inappropriate conduct. I also discovered that most AUP’s defined acceptable use not just for students, but extended the policies to staff, faculty, and campus visitors as well. The San Francisco State University AUP states that it applies to any user of the University’s technology resources. 

In my opinion institutions need to have an AUP that extends to all electronic resources of a campus and to any potential user of those resources. This is especially important with many schools offering the public access to their campus facilities and resources.  When it comes to the potential liability issues a serious conduct violation could  schools cannot afford to leave anything up to chance.


Getting started on the internet: Developing an acceptable use policy (2011) Retrieved from       
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. (2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (6thed.). Pearson Education Inc.

Ashley Kennedy
9/14/2012 02:39:01 am

I appreciate how well you summarized the information you read. Your blog flows very nicely! I agree with you in that every school needs an AUP in place because they can not risk it. Do you think that they should block and filter all information for all students?

9/16/2012 01:05:57 am

The thing I noticed most about AUP's, like you stated, is that they are very diverse. I concentrated on two schools and two media sites because I was a graphic designer and I am now a classroom teacher. It was interesting how some gave specific examples on what to do and others read like a legal brief.

Johnnie Murphy
9/16/2012 05:47:11 am

I also found that some of the AUPs I encountered were embedded in the student and/or employee handbooks and codes of conduct.

Some are quite draconian in their restrictions, like saying the internet could never be used except for educational purposes. I think that is pretty unenforceable, especially considering that mobile devices on campus can access content without going through the school network.


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